February 22, 2018
After celebrating with our kids on Valentine's Day, we decided to stay in town the day after instead of driving home when our work week was done and treat ourselves to dinner. It's been years since we've been to Olive Gardens. The last time we were there was with our family when my aunt and uncle were in town for a visit. It was great and the last time we got to spend with my uncle, who was in the last stages of a progressive illness. Not long after, we got the call that he had died. I'm glad we were able to share that visit with all our family and that we had such a good time, eating great food and creating some lasting memories, while sharing old ones through the night. I miss my uncle but am happy we had time together. And I'm glad he's no longer in pain.
The next time we were going to go out for dinner, we ended up at Olive Gardens again, but this time, the line up to get in was horrendous, the staff was rude (likely run off their feet) and we ended up feeling a bit discouraged, so we took our name off the 2 hour wait list and drove back to our little hamlet and found a local restaurant to have our meal. They had just stopped taking reservations, so it was clear that a lot of people were upset and the atmosphere wasn't what we were looking for that night. I wanted my previous experience to be the good memory that I'd cherish. Not the upsetting one we would have had if we had stayed. Not what we'd like to remember.
We were a bit concerned that we'd run in to the same issue as our last attempt but we went at 4 p.m., the day after Valentine's Day and it was the perfect time. No wait, amazing waiter and the food was so good. We did have to take little bags home with our leftovers as we couldn't eat all they brought us. And our waiter even brought us a bag of fresh breadsticks "for the drive home" he said as he pressed them in to our hands! It was wonderful to sit and talk for several hours and not be in a rush and just enjoy being served. Worth the wait and a new memory for our books. We plan to return soon to repeat this night.